Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rachel Labors in Childbirth -- Genesis 35:16

Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor.

Ephrath is not to be confused with Ephraim in the north. Ephrath is the ancient name for Bethlehem. The distance from Bethel almost directly south to Ephrath (Bethlehem) is about thirteen or so miles as the crow flies. One could imagine that with a pregnant woman in the traveling group, the trip could take several days.

We learn here in these verses that Rachel was pregnant again. During that trip from Bethel, Jacob’s wife Rachel began to deliver the child that she was carrying with great pain and agony. This must have been very hard not only on her and the baby, but also on Jacob. He must have been wondering why, right after God’s recent communication and blessing to him, he now had to watch the person he loved so dearly go through this great pain.

Many of us have gone through similar experiences. We had just been on a mountaintop high with God and then He seems to allow us to fall into a major personal valley in our lives. It is during those travels in the valley that we need to remember that the God of the mountaintop has not changed. He is also present in the valleys. He is also committed to seeing us through the valley. He wants to take us to the mountaintop once more, only this time as stronger and better individuals for having experienced yet another valley with Him.
I believe the most critical response or attitude to have during life’s lowest and darkest experiences is to know that we are, as children of God, being carried in His arms as we move through the valley. We must focus our gaze on the One who holds us. We must be confident in our belief that a mountain that will be climbed, stands just ahead.

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